Hockey N.L. says it's implementing sexual violence prevention amid Hockey Canada scandal

Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, which manages hockey leagues across the province, said Thursday it's committed to preventing sexual violence within its organization. (PhotoStock10/Shutterstock - image credit)
Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, which manages hockey leagues across the province, said Thursday it's committed to preventing sexual violence within its organization. (PhotoStock10/Shutterstock - image credit)

The Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of Hockey Canada says it's implementing a sexual violence prevention program in the wake of a scandal at national headquarters.

As corporate sponsors sever ties with Hockey Canada and federal officials lambast the organization for refusing to overhaul its leadership, Hockey N.L. says its training program, as well as a new LGBT policy, aims to make the sport more inclusive.

"These programs demonstrate the position of Hockey NL as being committed to playing an active role in instituting meaningful change for our game and its members," the organization said Thursday.

The statement comes amid accusations leveraged at the parent organization in recent months, claiming that management had been mishandling complaints of gang rapes and sexual violence for years.

Hockey Canada has confirmed it has quietly paid out $8.9 million in settlements to 21 complainants with sexual misconduct claims against its players since 1989.

The organization has recently rejected calls from Pascale St-Onge, the federal sport minister, to overhaul its leadership, however.

"I hope they understand the message and leave before they burn it to the ground," St-Onge said Thursday after a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill. Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, Skip the Dishes, Sobeys and Telus have all pulled their sponsorships.

Several provincial chapters of the organization have come forward with their own statements about Hockey Canada's refusal to launch mass resignations among management, some more strongly-worded than others.

Hockey N.L. said in Thursday's statement that it "continues to monitor and evaluate the developments in hockey across Canada.

"The review and institution of meaningful change in our sport, and its governance, is at the forefront of our thoughts as we work towards a more transparent, collaborative, and safe future for all involved in our game."

Hockey Québec, meanwhile, cut ties with the national organization Wednesday and said it will no longer transfer funds to Hockey Canada.

The Ontario Hockey Federation also said it will withhold membership fees for the upcoming season.

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